Saddle up! Bicycle Film Festival rides back into Hackney

BFI Bike Film Festival Logo Pic: BFF website

The Bicycle Film Festival is returning to Hackney this weekend, featuring four nights of bicycle-themed films and panel debates.

The films will be shown at Hackney Picturehouse in Mare Street in the centre of Hackney , as well as the Picturehouse in West Norwood, in Croydon.

An opening party will be held at Hackney café Look mum no hands! on the evening of November 22, with the evening’s programming lasting until midnight. There will also be live music from LMNH’s owner, Lewin Chalkley.

The Festival’s founder, New Yorker Brendt Barbur, will be making a speech at 7pm.

The event will screen a variety of films, including Rapha Films documentary Outskirts II, animated shorts from illustrator Lucinda Schreiber and a documentary about Italian cycler Moser: Dare to Win.

A panel debate at 12.30pm on Saturday will address questions such as “What drives cycling uptake in a city?”; “What can we learn from the Dutch experience?” and “Are we born or made cyclists?”

(left) Singer Ian MacKaye and founder Brendt Barbur

A free afterparty will conclude the festival on Saturday at Number 90 Bar & Kitchen in Hackney Wick. The party will include vegan food and music from Brixton artist DJ CUSP.

The festival has also organised a ‘gravel ride’ starting at 8am on Sunday from café London Velo in Deptford. Although the ride is free, organisers are asking for a £10 donation that will be given to the London Air Ambulance.

Organisers describe this activity as “A ‘gravel ride’ of approximately 75 km that traverses the dip slope of the North Downs, exploring ‘dry’ valley ways and leeward woodland paths, all within the M25 corridor”.

This will be the festival’s 18th year. It was launched in 2001 after Babour was hit by a bus whilst biking in Manhattan.

He used the settlement from the incident to create the first-ever Bicycle Film Festival in his hometown.

London BMX Jam Pic: BFF website

Babour said to ELL: “Filmmakers and Artists have played an active role in telling the story of cycling that has promoted this way of life all around the world. Bicycle Film Festival has been a venue for them.”

It has since been featured in Paris, Singapore, Stockholm, Helsinki, Guadalajara, Ottawa and Madrid. Babour plans to take it to Los Angeles and Quito later this year.

The event has been steadily increasing in popularity. Alexandra Davis,  Communications and Events Manager at LMNH, told Eastlondonlines: “Three hundred people have signed up, and 200 people are currently on the waiting list for the launch party”.

“It means so much to us because we want people on bikes – it’s good for the environment, its cheap and it keeps people fit. It’s a win-win, really”.

The Festival aims to promote the biking in the city, and, according to Davis, showcase “the power of bicycles”.

For a full list of events and to reserve tickets, you can visit the online schedule.

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